The snow leopard peaks are a group of five snow-covered peaks located in Central Asia in China, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. These peaks are very high reaching elevations of more than 20,000 ft. Climbing all the five peaks successfully attracts the highly coveted mountaineering Snow Leopard Award. The mountaineering award developed by the former Soviet Union more than 50 years ago has been won by about 600 mountaineers with the highest record of the awards being held by Russian climber Boris Korshunov between 1981 and 2004. Climbing all the five peaks is considered a daunting task even to the most veteran mountaineers.
5. Ismoil Somoni Peak
The Ismoil Somoni Peak is located in Tajikistan and rises to an elevation of 24,590 ft making it the highest in Tajikistan and the highest among the snow leopard peaks. The peak is also the highest in the Pamir Mountains. Though the mountain is relatively hard to climb due to the steep incline and strong winds, some routes developed from previous climbing efforts make it relatively easier to climb the peak. Such routes include the Borodkin Spur. Evgeni Abalakov, a solo climber, was the first to successfully summit the mountain. The period from June to August present the best time to summit the peak.
4. Jengish Chokusu
The 24,406 ft peak is the highest peak in the Tien Shan range along the Kyrgyzstan-China border. Also called the Pobeda Peak, Jengish Chokusu is the most challenging peak of the snow leopard group and presents life-threatening dangers to climbers due to icefall, avalanches, and freezing temperatures. Most of the mountain climbers attempting to summit the snow leopard peaks often give up on the Jengish Chokusu.
3. Ibn Sina Peak
Ibn Sina Peak or Lenin Peak is the easiest to access snow leopard peak and the most climbed peak in the Pamir Mountains. It rises to an elevation of 23,406 ft and is the highest peak in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The Lenin Peak also named the Ibn Sina Peak is located on the Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan border within the Trans-Alay Range and the Pamir Mountains. A group of three German Mountaineers were the first to summit the peak in 1928. More attempts to the summit of the mountain were made in later years especially after WWII. The peak has 16 routes mainly on the southern side.
2. Peak Korzhenevskaya
The snow leopard peak located inTajikistan in the Pamir Mountains has an elevation of 23,310ft and is one of the easily accessible peaks of the snow leopard collection and so far one of the most climbed of the Pamir Mountains. Difficulties encountered during the climb may include steep sections along the climbing trails and sometimes, limited climbing periods. The mountain was first climbed in 1953 by a team of mountaineers led by A. Ugarov. The mountain is accessible from several routes around the mountain.
1. Khan Tengri
The Khan Tengri peak located along the china-Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan border has an elevation of 23,000 ft and is the second highest peak within the Tian Shan range and the highest in the Tengri Tag sub-range. The Khan Tengri peak presents considerable difficulties to climbers due to its short climbing season, thin air and steep routes. The most accessible route is also prone to avalanches and glacial movements that have killed many mountaineers.